Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Cat's Meow

This past week, I took on a cake challenge for myself. My little girl Mackenzie is turning three tomorrow, and this past weekend was her party. So I had to pull out all the stops to make her cake. The theme I went with this year was cats. Kenzie loves cats and sometimes even pretends to be one. I had seen a 3D cat cake on flickr and crazy me, decided to make that cake for the party. This was my first ever 3D cake, and first time having to crave a cake (if you have ever seen Ace of Cakes, you have seen them doing this to cake). I will admit there was a time that this cat cake was either going to end up headless or not at all, as the head came very close to being thrown across the room. Thankfully, once I made a few changes to the cake and the vision in my head, everything came together.

To start, I assembled the body. Here is pre-craving ...

...and here is post craving, iced and ready for fondant.

Now the colors I used for the party were pink, orange and green. Since Kenzie's birthday is in the dead of winter, I wanted bright fun colors. Because of that, I decided to make the cat orange.

Body complete with legs and tail. This part went so well, that I was ready to brave making the head, with very high hope for it to go as smoothly as the body did.

The head ready for craving. Feeling really good still at this point. Sadly, my hopes were dash pretty fast, and things were looking bleak for our little cat here. Thankfully after 4 attempts (and they say third times a charm-ha!) I came up with the following...

A head for the cat!

Notice the cat is smiling...it was very happy too that it didn't go airborne.

Here is the final cat cake. For not really knowing what I was doing, I'm happy with how the cake turned out.

Back view of the cake, complete with pretty pink bow.

Wanting to make sure I had enough cake for everyone, I made some matching cupcakes. They were never in any danger of flying across the room.

Our happy birthday girl with her cat cake. This picture alone makes any trouble I had with the cake all worth it.

And because we didn't have enough cat stuff for the party, I made these cookies as favors for the kids.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Here I Go Again

Yep, I'm trying again. I am entering the IronCupcake Earth Challenge, and maybe this time I will win. What is the IronCupcake Earth you ask...well, it's a monthly worldwide competition where bakers make yummy cupcakes based on that month's theme. And even though I have great family and friends who voted their butts off, I didn't win last time partly due to my lack of reading the full write-up on how the winner is picked. Oh, well, I had fun making my last entire, and I had fun making this on too. This month's theme is winter warm-up, so instantly I thought of hot chocolate. But I didn't want to do just a simple hot chocolate cupcake, so I decided to reverse mine. For this month's challenge I made a Reverse Hot Chocolate Cupcake (at least that's what I'm calling it). So my cupcake is a Marshmallow Cupcake, filled with Chocolate Ganache and topped with Chocolate Ganache and a few marshmallow. I found a recipe online for a Snowflake Marshmallow Cupcakes by Gail Wagman' Cupcake Galore, and then changed the recipe a little to come up with my cupcake.

And just like last time, you all get to vote and maybe help me win some wonderful prizes. What are the wonderful prizes you ask, well to begin with there is The Demy by Key Ingredient (check it out here http://www.mydemy.com/). And then there are the books Hello, Cupcake by Karen Tack & Alan Richardson (http://blog.hellocupcakebook.com/) and The Cake Doctor Returns! by Anne Byrne (http://www.workman.com/products/9780761129615). Plus fun cupcakes accessories from Bella Cupcake Couture (http://www.bellacupcakecouture.com/), the Cupcake Stacker from Gourmac (http://www.gourmac.com/custset.html) and Beautiful Bakeing Liners by Vestli House (http://www.vestlihouse.com/index.htm). And last but certainly not least Sweet Cuppin' Cakes Bakery & Cupcakey Supply (http://www.acupcakery.com/info.html). How could you not want to enter this challenge with all these goodies up for grabs.

So below is my recipe for marshmallow cupcakes and pictures of the assembled cupcake.

Marshmallow Cupcakes:

2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 cup butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
3 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup marshmallow fluff
1/2c mini marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350

Combine flour and baking powder and set aside.
Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until incorporated.
Add flour mixture and milk alternatively, starting and ending with the flour.
Blend in marshmallow fluff and marshmallow.
Fill muffin tray 2/3 full and bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick come out clean when stuck into the center of a cupcake.

Once your cupcakes are cooled, it's time to fill them with yummy ganache. Using a circle cutter and knife, I cut a cone shape out of each cupcake.

Fill each center with ganache (sorry for the picture quality, I forget to turn the flash on sometimes)

Put the tops back on the cupcakes.

Cover the cupcakes with more ganache to finish your creation.

Then just for fun and presentation, I put a few marshmallow on top to really finish the cupcake off.
Also, I just wanted to say thank you to all my tatse testers on this one. Glad you liked the cupcake.

So if you think this looks good, please go vote for me. (please, please,please) Voting will begin no later than Thursday, January 28th 8:00pm and last until Thursday, February 3rd at 12 noon CST. You can go to Nobody Puts Cupcake in a Corner at http://www.ironcupcakemilwaukee.com/ to vote for me (please,please, please). And if you would like to find out more about IronCupcake Earth, please go to http://www.ironcupcakeearth.com/.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Hold Me Closer Tiny Dancer

I have been very busy with cake orders lately. I had yet another this past weekend. I love getting all these orders because it allows me to be creative without the worry over consuming all the calories if those cakes and goodies were to stay at my house. Plus, I have plenty of material for this blog, so much in fact, I will be posting another one tomorrow. But I digress.

This past weekend's order was for Ellie's 1st birthday. Her Mom, Stephanie, ask for a birthday cake and smash cake, and let me know that they were doing pink and a ballerina-ish theme. She also told me to have fun and do what I wanted. First up, we have the smash cake. I had seen a ballerina cake online that I so wanted to do, but there was one problem with it. The cake was covered in fondant, and I just didn't think a fondant covered cake made for a good smash cake for a 1 year old. So I went back to the drawing board, but all I seem to be coming up with dealt with a cake covered in fondant. Then finally, the lightening bolt struck. I went back to my original idea for a ballerina, and made a tutu smash cake, with lots of buttercream to provide the birthday girl with plenty of mess.

To start the tutu cake, I baked a small chocolate (of course) bundt cake and then put a first coat of vanilla buttercream on it.

From there, I piped the ruffles on the tutu with a flower tip. The ballet slippers are made of fondant and then covered with pink glitter dust. I also sprinkled a little glitter dust on the tutu, but it's hard to tell in the picture.

I cut a bodysuit out of fondant and once again covered it with pink glitter dust. Behold, a tiny dancer for a tiny lady.

For Ellie's cake, I decided to keep it fairly simple, and tried to make it as pink as possible. The side work is suppose to represent the ribbon on ballet shoes that a ballerina would lace up her legs. And since ballerinas get flowers after a performance, a few pink roses for the birthday girl.

Hope you had a very Happy 1st Birthday Ellie.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

For the Glory (and Baby Alastair)

On December 30th, my friend Jan and her family got to welcome their son, Alastair, into the world. So to celebrate his arrival, I may some Sleeping Baby Boy Cupcakes, and some Baby Nittany Lion Cupcakes. Now you may ask why I made the Nittany Lion ones...you see Jan, her husband and myself all went to Penn State. And being out here in Wisconsin, you have to show off your Lion pride whenever you can. So I had a lot of fun creating these little guys to give to them. Sorry the pictures are smaller then usual. Once again my computer knowledge gets in the way, but at least I was able to post.

We are...

Penn State!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Under the Sea

Last weekend, I had an order for some cupcakes for a 3 year old's birthday. His mom, Nicole, was using an Under the Sea theme for his party, and asked for cupcakes to match. I went to a store and got a dolphin, a starfish, a seahorse and a fish cookie cutter to make the toppers for the cupcakes. Nicole ordered 24 cupcakes, 12 chocolate and 12 vanilla, with a special cupcake made up for the birthday boy.

Here are all the cupcakes. It's hard to tell, but the buttercream is two shade of blue to help tell the cupcakes flavors apart. I like how colorful the group turned out to be here.

Each fondant sea creature has glitter dust to add a little special touch to each one.

Here is the birthday boy's special cupcake. I'm really happy with how the octopus turned out. He's definitely one of my favorites. I also liked that he could hold the sign to wish Hayden a happy birthday.

I also made some special cupcakes for another friend who recently had a baby. I had forgot to take pictures of them before I gave them to her, but she was sweet enough to take some, and email them to me. Unfortunely, since I am basically computer illeriate, I will have to wait for my husband to get home to figure out how to post them here. I did download them, I just can't upload. So look for another post tomorrow.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Ringing In

For New Year's, my husband and I were invited to party (like rock stars of course) at a friend's house. So the old brain got a thinking, and came up with cupcakes to bring along. After many different flavors and decorating ideas, I settled on making dark chocolate cupcakes with chocolate champagne ganache and marshmallow fondant. I had a lot of fun putting these guys together, and I was really happy with how they turned out. Little know fact, I have very high expectations for the things I make, and if they don't come out to look exactly like the picture in my head, I'm not happy with them even if everyone else loves them. So I was really pleased with these particular cupcakes and I hope the following pictures can do them justice.

I tried a new technique this time around... putting a filling in the middle. It's very simple and makes a nice impact when you bite into the cupcake. Take a round cutter and simply cut a circle out of the top of the cupcake.

Fill the hole with what ever filling you choose to, in this case it was chocolate champagne ganache. For those of you that have never heard of ganache before, it is type of icing, a filling for pastries and a glaze. It can also be used to make truffles. All in all, ganache is just wonderful stuff. And it's super easy to make. The basic recipes consists of two ingredients, chopped chocolate and heavy cream. Just take 3 parts chocolate to 1 part heavy cream. Heat your heavy cream in a saucepan, remove from heat and add chopped chocolate. Stir until all the chocolate is melted. There you go, you have ganache.

Now, back to the cupcakes...replace the circle that you cut out of the top of the cupcake.

Frost the cupcake with more ganache, making it as smooth as possible.

Cut out circles of marshmallow fondant to cover the tops of the cupcakes. With you hand, stretch out the circles a little. Place on top of the cupcake and use your palm to smooth out any pleats.

Then decorate how ever you wish.

Initially when my friend sent out the invitation , she hinted for me to bring dessert. They only problem is she asked for desert, which I in turned asked if she would like the Sahara or the Gobi. So for fun, I made her a special batch of dirt dessert, but instead of Oreos, I used vanilla wafers, thus making it look like sand.